De­vel­op­ers share de­tails on Carbonear ho­tel pro­posal

Large turnout for pub­lic meet­ing on amend­ments to town plan, reg­u­la­tions

The Compass - - Front page - BY ANDREW ROBIN­SON

Res­i­dents heard di­rectly from the pro­po­nents for a pro­posed ho­tel de­vel­op­ment in Crocker’s Cove, Carbonear last Wed­nes­day.

James Bailie and Janet Whit­tle-Bailie spoke about their plans for what’s cur­rently billed as Hotelle @ Crock­ers Cove. The cou­ple is call­ing it a lux­ury bou­tique ho­tel, with a curved de­sign of­fer­ing a panoramic view of the ocean from ev­ery room.

Whit­tle-Bailie, who lives with her hus­band in On­tario and is orig­i­nally from New­found­land, said they were driv­ing through Fresh­wa­ter a-year-and-a-half ago and no­ticed Crocker’s Cove Point as they were com­ing into Carbonear.

The cou­ple ini­tially thought of build­ing a house on the land, but af­ter learn­ing about the sub­stan­tial cost of build­ing a road to ac­cess a res­i­den­tial prop­erty on the point, the con­ver­sa­tion shifted to cre­at­ing a busi­ness op­por­tu­nity.

In or­der to per­mit a ho­tel de­vel­op­ment on Crocker’s Cove Point, the town would need to ap­prove an amend­ment to the mu­nic­i­pal plan to re­zone the cou­ple’s pri­vate land from con­ser­va­tion to medium-den­sity res­i­den­tial. Then, the town would also need to make ho­tels a per­mit­ted use of land for that zon­ing.

Cur­rently, the town is look­ing at a pro­posal to re­zone a 2.97acre area, with the ini­tial de­sign for the ho­tel plac­ing it in the mid­dle of that prop­erty. How­ever, Whit­tle-Bailie in­di­cated they would be agree­able to mov­ing it fur­ther in­land to al­most the edge of the con­ser­va­tion area in ques­tion. The cou­ple has since pur­chased an ad­join­ing acre of res­i­den­tial land west of the area zoned con­ser­va­tion.

“We ac­tu­ally just drove (to) the prop­erty again to­day, and we’re OK with shift­ing that back a lit­tle bit as well to the west side,” she said, later adding they want to pro­tect the area zoned for con­ser­va­tion and make it a part of the ho­tel ex­pe­ri­ence for guests.

“We don’t want peo­ple to feel like they can’t come there and see the view any­more — we want to en­cour­age it,” James Bailie told The Com­pass af­ter the meet­ing.

Coun. David Kennedy, who chairs the town’s plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee, also men­tioned in the meet­ing coun­cil can come back to the de­vel­op­ers with a re­quest to de­crease the amount of land re­zoned if it so chooses. He also stated ex­plic­itly the ho­tel “is not a done deal.”

The pro­posed ho­tel would con­sist of 50 rooms on three lev­els and fea­ture a restau­rant, espresso bar, lobby bar, con­fer­ence cen­tre and art gallery. The build­ing’s foot­print would be ap­prox­i­mately 50,000 square feet.

Whit­tle-Bailie in­di­cated the cost of a room would not be in the same ball­park as what’s charged at the in­ter­na­tion­ally-renowned Fogo Is­land Inn, where rates start at $1,675 a night.

The ex­te­rior would in­clude a heated stair­case to ac­cess the rooftop look­outs and gar­den ter­races. It would em­ploy 45-50 peo­ple, and Whit­tle-Bailie added they would be in­ter­ested in part­ner­ing with New­found­land com­pa­nies to cre­ate branded prod­ucts for guests, such as spir­its, wa­ter and toi­letries. The pro­po­nents are also look­ing at pro­vid­ing shut­tle ser­vice to St. John’s In­ter­na­tional Air­port and to sites in Carbonear.

Pub­lic re­ac­tion

Fol­low­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion from Bailie and Whit­tle-Bailie, the fo­cus of the meet­ing shifted to res­i­dents, of which ap­prox­i­mately 60 were on hand at the Con­cep­tion Bay Re­gional Com­mu­nity Cen­tre.

There were al­most an equal num­ber of speak­ers ex­press­ing ei­ther sup­port or skep­ti­cism about the pro­posal.

One man from Crocker’s Cove who lives next to the pro­posed site for de­vel­op­ment raised con­cerns about us­ing Burnt Head Road for buses. He also sug­gested ac­cess­ing the prop­erty could prove prob­lem­atic, and later brought up the area’s his­tor­i­cal in­ter­est and ar­chae­o­log­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance.

Kennedy ac­knowl­edged pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment ar­chae­ol­o­gists might show an in­ter­est in the site if the town’s pro­posed amend­ments come to the prov­ince for re­view.

If the town grants ap­proval, the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment must re­view the amend­ments, with mul­ti­ple de­part­ments hav­ing an op­por­tu­nity to weigh in with their ex­per­tise. It would then come back to the town, with the pub­lic get­ting a fur­ther op­por­tu­nity at this point to give their two cents to coun­cil be­fore a fi­nal vote on the amend­ments takes place.

Oth­ers ex­pressed con­cern about the ap­pro­pri­ate­ness of the lo­ca­tion for a ho­tel, but there were also mul­ti­ple res­i­dents who spoke favourably about the pro­posal, sug­gest­ing it would be great for the econ­omy and cre­ate busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for oth­ers in the area.

Bailie and Whit­tle-Bailie hope to have all the nec­es­sary gov­ern­ment ap­provals in place within the next six months, and do not in­tend to en­gage in fur­ther ar­chi­tec­tural work un­til that process con­cludes. They’re look­ing for con­struc­tion to start next spring, with the hope then to be ready to open in 2020.

ANDREW ROBIN­SON/THE COM­PASS

James Bailie and wife Janet Whit­tle-Bailie shared with Carbonear res­i­dents some of their ideas for a pro­posed ho­tel in Crocker’s Cove Wed­nes­day evening.

SUB­MIT­TED IM­AGE

A con­cept draw­ing and po­ten­tial lo­ca­tion for the curved build­ing, which may move fur­ther in­land than what’s shown. Petroff Part­ner­ship Ar­chi­tects cre­ated this de­sign.

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